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Foundation (Foundation, #1)
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2012 Reads > FOUND: Just Finished!

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Alan Bollinger | 5 comments Amazing book. I've had it on my computer as a collection of Asimov books to read - and thanks to you guys I was able to dust it off.

I was VERY interested in the parallels drawn between the current USA and that of the foundation. Each phase of our society rolling over and over. From the humble beginnings, to the religious utopian ideology, to our current consumerism. Simply prophetic.

I can't wait for next months book choice. Or to read the next Foundation book!


message 2: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Alan wrote: "Amazing book. I've had it on my computer as a collection of Asimov books to read - and thanks to you guys I was able to dust it off.

I was VERY interested in the parallels drawn between the curre..."


The parallels are striking.


Jessy (jessyanelfatheart) | 38 comments I too have finished. It was not my favorite book that I have read in a while. I found the huge jumps in the timeline to be a bit jarring to the flow of the story and often felt a character was taken out of the story right when they were getting interesting. I do have to say that I agree with Alan about the phases of society. The anthropological idea that every society goes through phases is very astounding and spot on. This aspect of the book is what kept me reading to the end.


message 4: by Molly (new)

Molly (mollyrichmer) | 127 comments I read Foundation a couple summers back and liked it but didn't love it. I had the same problem as Jessica; as soon as I really got into a character, time jumped forward and they were gone. I was interested enough in the story to read the sequel, Foundation and Empire, but ended up lemming the third in the trilogy about halfway through. Definitely worth the read, but not something I'd pick up again.


Timm Woods (kexizzoc) | 43 comments Going off of Jessica's statement about every society goes through phases; I loved that this was the central idea of Asimov's "psychohistory". You can definitely make the connection between Foundation and U.S. history and evolution of society in America, but really you can (in theory) draw parallels to ANY history. In his view, any society put in situation X will respond with reaction Y and produce a predictable next evolution of itself. It made it really interesting to read the religious aspect of their society; even though it was a totally trumped-up religion based around control of resources and technology, it was hard to condemn them for what was essentially just a phase they needed to evolve through in order to survive as a culture. I think this REALLY speaks to the current social climate, particularly with regards to rationalism vs. fundamentalism. I think Asimov embodies the true "scientific" perspective; detached, observational, neither condemning nor advocating, neither cynical nor optimistic. I guess that's why his books work so well as scifi. While his characters debate the morality of their society's actions, Hari Seldon watches over it all as Asimov's spokesman; to him, societies are "good" or "bad" the way a carbon atom is "good" or "bad".


terpkristin | 4117 comments I just finished. I enjoyed the book well enough (will rate it 3 stars for "liked it"), though I'll agree with what others have said. His characters were rather weak, while his ideas were interesting. It was definitely interesting to think back to the US in the 50's and remember what was going on, historically, and see how that influenced his writing.

I agree that a large part of "psychohistory" was a study of how the mob-mentality (as driven by society) will (and has quite often through history) respond to situations in rather predictable fashion. I also thought it was interesting that in Asmiov's "new society," there were no psychologists--ever. He made a big point of this at first. Toward the end, it was less of a point, but in each story, rational evaluation of the situation was never considered (or rarely so). It was always encouraged--if not expected--to go with the flow and to let things happen.

As a scientist, I sympathized with his lament of the lack of critical thinking and the lack of actual science that's accepted these days (more so now than then). People/societies are doing that more and more, encouraging "research" solely by inspection of what others have done.


Kenny | 31 comments I usually have a pretty decent memory, and I think it's telling that I don't remember any of the characters really. I read the book a few months ago before I found this group, but overall despite the generally flat characters I enjoyed the book for the most part. The idea of psychohistory is an interesting one, bringing new meaning to learning from your mistakes. I think Asimov did a great job in presenting a rather obscure idea convincingly, and had a thought provoking enough plot to forgive the characters In my opinion. Overall I wish good reads allowed us to give half stars 3 seems to little and 4 seems to high.


Adelaide Blair So, I liked it, but I did not love it. The ideas were great, but the structure of every story was the same: Crisis point is coming, everybody thinks guy is doing it wrong, he knows best and steers the situation (through action or inaction) to outcome he desires and shows everybody up. That, combined with the thin characters and lack of women (there is a whole thread devoted to that), made it hard for me to enjoy this as much as I could have. I also would have liked to have given it 3 1/2 stars, instead of just 3, but I just couldn't give it 4.


Thurman (nycblkboy) | 145 comments I've read this book at least 20 times in 20 + years. I also read the other foundation and robot books at least that many times too.

I just started re reading this book because of this group. I think it is a great series that makes you think. And the real ending (to the series) is a great surprise. I do wish i've never read before or as not as many times. SO I can read them again fresh.

It is a good book and a good quick read.


Thurman (nycblkboy) | 145 comments I forgot 2 things. I did reread the 2nd and 3rd Foundation book too. The 1st and the 2nd book are worth reading, but the 3rd just feels usless. Like he is trying to drill the concept into your mind.

If you want to explore more of Isaac Asimov's books try the robot series. The 1st book might be slow but I really enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd books.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_As...

One thing this club has done is open me up to all of Isaac Asimov's books. I'm taking a look at the other books now. I don't think it will be exaggeration to say that he wrote hundreds of books and not just sci-fi. Enjoy


message 11: by Jack (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jack (wineontheveldt) I definitely liked it more the second time around. I think I've been spoiled with contemporary SF. Maybe spoiled is the wrong word. My mind is just wired a certain way. I tend to look for characters first, and I think that hurt my enjoyment the first time through because Asimov doesn't put his characters first, so to speak, and it took me a while before I realized that something wasn't wrong with the book, but with how I was reading the book, if that makes sense. Once I adapted my mind a little bit, seeing the beauty in the writing, the time jumps, and in the ideas themselves, Foundation clicked in something like the way it must click for all you hardcore Asimov-heads. I can't wait to read the rest of his work now!


Ulmer Ian (eean) | 341 comments Jack wrote: "I definitely liked it more the second time around. I think I've been spoiled with contemporary SF. Maybe spoiled is the wrong word. My mind is just wired a certain way. I tend to look for character..."
Yep for sure. In general SciFi is really concerned with the setting and sometimes more concerned with the setting than the characters. Foundation is such a good example - essentially what binds the stories together is the setting.


message 13: by Timm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timm Woods (kexizzoc) | 43 comments Jack wrote: "I definitely liked it more the second time around. I think I've been spoiled with contemporary SF. Maybe spoiled is the wrong word. My mind is just wired a certain way. I tend to look for character..."

I always feel like I can never get behind characters the way I get wrapped up by a good, consistent, exciting world. I call it the "Dungeon Master" complex, I'm always writing from the top-down, and when I read and suddenly the BIG PICTURE shows up, that's when I'm suddenly jumping around with joy. Asimov scratches my itch because he's ALL big picture, and nowhere is that clearer than in Foundation (although he admits his other books are just simple detective stories used to transmit his cool scifi concepts). I chuckled at the quote I saw on this forum about him being the "best worst scifi writer" (paraphrasing perhaps there) because I can absolutely see what the speaker means; his writing has brilliant concepts, but often isn't incredible prose. I love that quote because this is the exact kind of book I aspire to write; a book that's more about the world people live in than the people themselves.


message 14: by Chip (new)

Chip I have re-read the Foundation trilogy some 4 or 5 times over the years. I enjoy every book, not necessarily because of an individual book, but because of the trilogy and the entire arc of the story. Asimov can get preachy (not as preachy as Heinlein of course), and his writing at times seems as if he is trying to demonstrate he is the smartest guy in the room. However, he is a master story teller, which in this series is really only revealed in the next two volumes.


Katie (calenmir) | 211 comments Sort of random:

I just started reading Foundation and Empire and was enjoying it much more than Foundation, til I hit a little something...wasn't sure what thread it fit and thought one where people were finished would be best.

It's not spoilery I don't think, but Asimov just described a 5'4", 120 pound woman as "plump" repeatedly....Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??? That is most definitely a petite person.


Brian (bilborg) | 9 comments Chip wrote: "I have re-read the Foundation trilogy some 4 or 5 times over the years. I enjoy every book, not necessarily because of an individual book, but because of the trilogy and the entire arc of the story..."

Hey, Chip! It's also worth noting that, in *most* rooms, Asimov probably was the smartest guy. His range of knowledge in the non-fiction arena is absolutely astounding!


Casey | 654 comments I just finished (last night) and I think it was the concepts rather than the writing style that drew me to its completion. I am glad I read it but at the same time I would have enjoyed some measurable degree of lasting philosophical ruminations. That being said, this is a great example of a book I am happy to have read but wouldn't want to read again.


message 18: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Brian wrote: "His range of knowledge in the non-fiction arena is absolutely astounding! ."

He had a staff of writers that published under his name. I found out by accident when I wrote to him about an error in one of his non-fiction books. ?He responded with a very nice letter but said it was a book written by a staff member and he said he should have checked it more carefully. I think this is a fairly common practice of those authors who publish a lot of books - they are a company.


William Bylaska I liked it but it was a little dry for me and a smidgen anti-climactic. However in a book about predicting the future that could be expected.

Also:



message 20: by Josh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Josh Campbell (soupcan58) | 9 comments I read this for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it just as much this year, though I recognized something. I loved the first three parts, but four just felt alright, and five just didn't suck me in for some reason. The Mayors (part three) had to be my favorite segment of the book. It may have been because it tied a bit into part two as well, but I still felt that segment really made me interested in what was going on with the Foundation itself and it's relation to the outside kingdoms in the outter rim.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1861 comments Hmmm, finished today, and it was okay, but nothing I could say I loved. There were some great elements to the book, but the characters really hurt it for me. They were very briefly sketched out, hardly to relate to, and even the ones we spent the most time with were little more than voice pieces to serve the plot. I liked the political intrigue, but it would have been so much better if I'd felt any concern for the outcome, but the book placed the concept above the characters, and since events have already been predicted, that doesn't leave me much to worry about. I enjoyed the book enough while I was reading, but there was very little to keep me reading, or want to return to it when I was done. I was left wanting someone to rewrite these stories with a focus on real people with fears and ambitions, rather than blank, slightly smug servants of a prophesy.


Tau-Mu | 5 comments I thoroughly enjoyed reading Foundation for a second time after many years (decades). I definitely appreciated the political intrigue more the second time around. The whole concept of psychohistory is still appealing giving rise to the central tension between pre-determination and free will. The collapse of an all-powerful empire giving rise to chaos and rebellion clearly has influenced other sci-fi works, and is also relevant to the geo-political situation today as Alan mentions.


Celine | 36 comments First time reading Asimov, ever! (other than some French translations of short stories).

I found it hard to get into at first, because I've been reading a lot of YA lately which tends to be a lot easier to read quickly. Once I got past the first section I started enjoying it a lot more and I realized how much I missed good worldbuilding.

I really love the idea behind psychohistory and the entire Empire, and how it parallels society today and in the past (as someone further up said).

I bought Prelude To Foundation today at a used book store, I'll start reading it when I have time.


message 24: by Ivan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivan Torres | 3 comments I know I'm late to the party but I just finished the book.

The inconsistent characters and timeliness really bothered me. Also the book to me was more about ideas and concepts then a character or story. I just prefer books where I'm presented with characters and multiple characters and my emotional attachment to that character increases as I get into the book.

This book did not do any of that. The only character that I was invested in was Sheldon.


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